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Small modular reactors: What is taking so long?

Next-generation nuclear has long been just around the corner, but debate still rages over the silver-bullet credentials of small modular reactors.

By Oliver Gordon The growing urgency of the climate crisis and, more recently, the energy crisis has reawakened global interest in nuclear energy. Even the likes of Bill Gates and Elon Musk have waded into the debate to petition for a more prominent role for nuclear power in the transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. To that end, there is much expectation surrounding the development of small modular reactors (SMRs), a new generation of nuclear reactors that are being marketed as the solution to all of nuclear power’s previous shortcomings.

To that end, there is much expectation surrounding the development of small
modular reactors (SMRs), a new generation of nuclear reactors that are
being marketed as the solution to all of nuclear power’s previous
shortcomings.

In fact, SMRs are not forecast to hit the commercial market
before 2030, and although SMRs are expected to have lower up-front capital
costs per reactor, their economic competitiveness is still to be proven in
practice once they are deployed at scale.

Nuclear reactors are extremely
complex systems that must comply with stringent safety requirements, taking
into account a wide variety of accident scenarios. The licensing process is
extensive and country-dependent, implying some standardisation will be
required for SMRs to properly take off.

However – beyond the perennial
oscillation of public acceptance of nuclear energy – there are still a
variety of challenges SMR technology needs to overcome before it can reach
commercial deployment. “The hardest is economics,” says M V Ramana, the
Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the School of
Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia,
Canada, and author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in
India. “Nuclear energy is an expensive way to generate electricity.”

 Energy Monitor (accessed) 21st Sept 2022
 https://www.energymonitor.ai/sectors/power/small-modular-reactors-smrs-what-is-taking-so-long

September 21, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Small nuclear reactors emerge as energy option, but risks loom

The search for alternative sources to Russian energy during the war in Ukraine has refocused attention on smaller, easier-to-build nuclear power stations.

The Indian Express, By: AP Nicosia (cyprus) September 11, 2022. A global search for alternative sources to Russian energy during the war in Ukraine has refocused attention on smaller, easier-to-build nuclear power stations, which proponents say could provide a cheaper, more efficient alternative to older model mega-plants…………

While Rolls-Royce SMR and its competitors have signed deals with countries from Britain to Poland to start building the stations, they are many years away from operating and cannot solve the energy crisis now hitting Europe.

Nuclear power also poses risks, including disposing of highly radioactive waste and keeping that technology out of the hands of rogue countries or nefarious groups that may pursue a nuclear weapons program.Those risks have been accentuated following the shelling around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, which has raised fears of potential nuclear disaster in the wake of the war

………………………………. Similarly, Oregon-based NuScale Power signed agreements last year with two Polish companies — copper and silver producer KGHM and energy producer UNIMOT — to explore the possibility of building SMRs to power heavy industry. ……….. Rolls-Royce SMR said last month that it signed a deal with Dutch development company ULC-Energy to look into setting up SMRs in the Netherlands. Another partner is Turkey, where Russia is building the Akkuyu nuclear power plant on the southern coast. Environmentalists say the region is seismically active and could be a target for terrorists.

The introduction of unproven nuclear power technology in the form of SMRs doesn’t sit well with environmentalists, who argue that proliferation of small reactors will exacerbate the problem of how to dispose of highly radioactive nuclear waste.“Unfortunately, Turkey is governed by an incompetent administration that has turned it into a ‘test bed’ for corporations,” said Koray Dogan Urbarli, a spokesman for Turkey’s Green Party.“It is giving up the sovereignty of a certain region for at least 100 years for Russia to build a nuclear power plant. This incompetence and lobbying power make Turkey an easy target for SMRs,” said Koray, adding that his party eschews technology with an “uncertain future.”

……………….. M.V. Ramana, professor of public policy and global affairs at the University of British Columbia, cites research suggesting there’s “no demonstrated way” to ensure nuclear waste stored in what authorities consider to be secure sites won’t escape in the future. The constant heat generated by the waste could alter rock formations where it’s stored and allow water seepage, while future mining activities could compromise a nuclear waste site’s integrity, said Ramana, who specializes in international security and nuclear energy.

Skeptics also raise the risks of possibly exporting such technology in politically tumultuous regions……………

Ramana said that there’s no guarantee nations will follow the rules. “Any country acquiring nuclear reactors automatically enhances its capacity to make nuclear weapons,” he said, adding that every SMR could produce “around 10 bombs worth of plutonium each year.”…………………………… more https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/science/small-nuclear-reactors-emerge-as-energy-option-but-risks-loom-8143584/

September 20, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Space race – the old macho aim – USA and China to beat each other

A new space race? China adds urgency to US return to moon

By ELLEN KNICKMEYER September 15, 2022 WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s not just rocket fuel propelling America’s first moonshot after a half-century lull. Strategic rivalry with China’s ambitious space program is helping drive NASA’s effort to get back into space in a bigger way, as both nations push to put people back on the moon and establish the first lunar bases.

American intelligence, military and political leaders make clear they see a host of strategic challenges to the U.S. in China’s space program, in an echo of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry that prompted the 1960s’ race to the moon. That’s as China is quickly matching U.S. civil and military space accomplishments and notching new ones of its own.

On the military side, the U.S. and China trade accusations of weaponizing space. Senior U.S. defense officials warn that China and Russia are building capabilities to take out the satellite systems that underpin U.S. intelligence, military communications and early warning networks………………………..

NASA, the U.S. civilian space agency, is awaiting a new launch date this month or in October for its Artemis 1 uncrewed test moonshot. Technical problems scrubbed the first two launch attempts in recent weeks.

China likewise aims to send astronauts to the moon this decade, as well as establish a robotic research station there. Both the U.S. and China intend to establish bases for intermittent crews on the moon’s south pole after that…………………………………….

And for space more broadly, Americans alone have tens of thousands of satellites overhead ………………………

The moon programs signal that “space is going to be an arena of competition on the prestige front, demonstrating advanced technical expertise and know-how, and then also on the military front as well,” said Aaron Bateman, a professor of history and international affairs at George Washington University and a member of the Space Policy Institute……………………………….

A 1967 U.N. space treaty meant to start shaping the guardrails for space exploration bans anyone from claiming sovereignty over a celestial body, putting a military base on it, or putting weapons of mass destruction into space.

“I don’t think it’s at all by coincidence or happenstance that it is now in this period of what people are claiming is renewed great-power competition that the United States is actually investing the resources to go back,” said Bateman, the scholar on space and national security. “Time will tell if this turns into a sustained program.”………………………………… https://apnews.com/article/astronomy-russia-ukraine-space-exploration-science-technology-f98448825e588e8902bb74519b55ba9f

September 20, 2022 Posted by | politics international, space travel, USA | Leave a comment

France sends reprocessed nuclear fuel to Japan, despite environmental and safety dangers

 https://japantoday.com/category/national/france-sends-latest-nuclear-shipment-to-japan CHERBOURG, France 18 Sept 22

Two ships carrying reprocessed nuclear fuel destined for Japan set sail Saturday morning from northern France, an AFP photographer said, despite criticism from environmental campaigners.

The fuel was due to leave the northern French port city of Cherbourg earlier this month but was delayed by the breakdown of loading equipment.

Environmental activists have denounced the practice of transporting such highly radioactive materials, calling it irresponsible.

The previous transport of MOX fuel to Japan in September 2021 drew protests from environmental group Greenpeace.

MOX fuel is a mixture of reprocessed plutonium and uranium.

“The Pacific Heron and Pacific Egret, the specialised ships belonging to British company PNTL, left Cherbourg harbor on September 17. They will ensure the shipment of MOX nuclear fuel to Japan,” French nuclear technology group Orano said in a statement Saturday.

They are bound for Japan for use in a power plant and Orano said it expected the shipment to arrive in November.

Japan lacks facilities to process waste from its own nuclear reactors and sends most of it overseas, particularly to France.

The operation was carried out “successfully”, Orano said, and it is the second shipment that arrived in Cherbourg from a plant in La Hague, located 20 kilometers away, after the first came on September 7.

Yannick Rousselet of Greenpeace France previously denounced the shipment.

“Transporting such dangerous materials from a nuclear proliferation point of view is completely irresponsible,” he said last month.

MOX is composed of 92 percent uranium oxide and eight percent plutonium oxide, according to Orano.

The plutonium “is not the same as that used by the military,” it said.

September 20, 2022 Posted by | France, reprocessing, safety | Leave a comment

Can the testing on anti-satellite weapons be banned?

U.S. looking to encourage more countries to join ASAT testing ban, Space News, by Jeff Foust — August 31, 2022

WASHINGTON — As a second session of a United Nations working group on reducing space threats approaches, U.S. government officials say they’re looking for ways to encourage more countries to back a ban on anti-satellite weapon tests.

Vice President Kamala Harris announced April 18 that the United States would refrain from conducting direct-ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) tests, calling such debris-generating activities “reckless and irresponsible.” She called on other nations to also halt such tests.

Her speech, officials later said, was timed to influence discussions at the first meeting of a U.N. Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on norms of behavior for reducing space threats held in May in Geneva. During that meeting Canada announced that it would join the United States in the ASAT testing ban. In July, the New Zealand government announced that it, too, would commit not to test direct-ascent ASATs. Neither country had developed or were planning to develop such weapons………………………………………………………………………

In 1963, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution that called on countries not to place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in outer space, which eventually became part of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty………  https://spacenews.com/u-s-looking-to-encourage-more-countries-to-join-asat-testing-ban/

August 31, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Rethink Research throws cold water on the Nuclear Energy Institute’s enthusiasm for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).

 For SMRs to remain competitive there will need to be heavy state-side subsidizes for consumers, as the initial cost of energy produced from them is considerably above wholesale auction prices.

https://rethinkresearch.biz/articles/smr-boon-forecast-by-nei-rethink-doubts-it/SMR boon forecast by NEI, Rethink doubts it, By Connor Watts, 24 Aug 22, Some 19 utilities surveyed by the US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) says they see potential for up to 90GW of small modular reactors (SMR) within the United States by 2050. This would work out to around 300 reactors producing 731.3 TWh of energy, most of which would come online before 2050. Those numbers look pretty good until you look at current generation figures

During 2021 the US consumed around 790 TWh of electricity from nuclear power plants and 899 TWh from coal plants. The EIA projects that 16GW of nuclear plants will be decommissioned, alongside 69GW of coal plants up to 2050. This means that as much as 95% of potential SMR energy production could be going directly to the replacement of existing facilities.

This leaves only 5GW of remaining demand potential for SMR energy production up to 2050 outside of decommissioning existing facilities, we think even this may be optimistic.

Traditional nuclear plants take upwards of a decade to build and often run massively overbudget, making the energy it does produce once built more expensive as costs are attempted to be recouped.

SMR producers promise to do away with these drawbacks through standardizing their designs to enable factory production. Minimizing cost while shortening production times, theoretically addressing the main weaknesses of traditional reactors.

In practice it’s a little more complicated.

Considering the complexity and risks involved with nuclear power generation, commercial production and design of SMRs remains a slow and meticulous process. This has left many SMR sites still in the planning or design phase years after their announcements, almost competing in deployment time with traditional nuclear plants.

Once a new SMR gets deployed after its design and development period, it will need to be monitored for a few years to inspect for defects and inefficiencies within the design to prevent any mishaps. This is likely to add yet more time to an already long production horizon, adding costs as new units cannot go into production.

The cost savings achieved through modularity and standardization are borne through mass-production and deployment. In a way this is the “gigafactory” approach for nuclear. Considering long initial production times, this will contribute significantly to a short-term increase in the price of nuclear electricity, minimizing its applications where it remains competitive.

SMRs are supposed to come to market at $60 per MWh LCOE – but already wind and solar are considerably below that, and what level will they be at after SMRs arrived on the scene in volume, by say 2030?

For SMRs to remain competitive there will need to be heavy state-side subsidizes for consumers, as the initial cost of energy produced from them is considerably above wholesale auction prices.

Another issue with nuclear power generation is water usage. Earlier this month nuclear plants in France had a rule concerning water discharging waived as heatwaves boiled most of Europe.

Typically, the reactors would reduce their output to minimize damage from discharging hot water into the nearby ecosystems, but this rule has been waived until the 11th of September to ensure energy supplies in the short term. SMRs will also need to use local water supplies as a coolant, which makes them ineffective in a drought.

This can be mitigated through the use of alternative coolants such as liquid metal, gas and molten salt, but many SMR designs currently work similarly to traditional nuclear.

To use the time horizon for SMRs makes them look economically  unfavorable, and while these 19 utilities may genuinely feel they like the idea of more nuclear, their controlling state utilities commission may well have something to say about whether they ever actually get installed.

August 23, 2022 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Astronauts Going to Mars Will Receive Many Lifetimes Worth of Radiation

Universe Today, In a recent study published in Space Physics, an international team of researchers discuss an in-depth study examining the long-term physiological effects of solar radiation on astronauts with emphasis on future astronauts traveling to Mars, to include steps we can take to help mitigate the risk of such solar radiation exposure. The researchers hailed from the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, India, United States, Italy, Greece, and Germany, and their study helps us better understand the in-depth, long-term health impacts of astronauts during long-term space missions, specifically to Mars and beyond.

Exposure to ionizing radiation is one of the main health risks to astronauts in crewed missions to Mars,” said Dr. Dimitra Atri, a Research Scientist at New York University Abu Dhabi, and lead author of the study. “Going to Mars is going to be humanity’s ultimate adventure in the 21st century — it would be unfortunate if the mission is successful, but astronauts suffer major health issues or even die because of radiation exposure. So, we need to estimate radiation exposure in a very careful way and study its overall impact on human health. It will also help us develop mitigation strategies to keep our astronauts safe.”

To conduct their study, the researchers utilized a computer simulation known as Geant4 with a model human phantom to calculate how each organ of the human body is affected by radiation doses from exposure to energetic charged particles for prolonged periods. These include impacts on an astronaut’s health such as Acute Radiation Syndrome, nervous system damage, and a higher risk of cancer. The CDC defines Acute Radiation Syndrome, also known as radiation sickness or radiation toxicity, as “an acute illness caused by irradiation of the entire human body (or most of the body) by a high dose of penetrating radiation in a very short period of time (usually a matter of minutes).”

Combining their data from the model human phantom with dozens of past medical studies, the researchers discuss the underlying impacts of ionizing radiation on physiological systems, to include the nervous, immune, and skeletal systems, and behavioral effects, along with impacts on genetic material and risk of cancer. They considered a crewed mission to Mars comprising of 600 days in cruise phase to and from the Red Planet and spending 400 days on the Martian surface. While they noted a knowledge gap regarding past medical studies and their own study, they stated radiation limits set by the European Space Agency, Roscosmos, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, and NASA would be surpassed during a crewed mission to Mars.

“It is a comprehensive study modeling the impact of charged particles — protons, alpha particles, heavier species on a human phantom by using CERN’s charged particle interaction code, said Dr. Atri. “We were able to calculate radiation dose deposited in various organs of the human body. ………….  https://www.universetoday.com/157285/astronauts-going-to-mars-will-receive-many-lifetimes-worth-of-radiation/

August 23, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, space travel | Leave a comment

Digital damage: Is your online life polluting planet?

 https://www.miragenews.com/digital-damage-is-your-online-life-polluting-840709/ Macquarie University/The Lighthouse Dr Jessica McLean is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography in the Macquarie School of Social Sciences. 22 Aug 22

Shorter emails, camera-off Zoom calls and deleting old photos could reduce our digital carbon footprints – but sustainability expert Dr Jessica McLean says this is too big for individuals, and governments and organisations need to take responsibility.

Swapping digital meetings, shopping and even exercise classes for their in-person alternatives can substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by avoiding transport-related pollution, but the environmental impact of our digital lives is also surprisingly high, says Human Geographer Dr Jessica McLean.

We don’t often think about the various infrastructures required to do simple things like send an email or hold our photos – these digital things are stored in data centres that are often out of sight, out of mind,” says McLean, who is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Macquarie University’s School of Social Sciences.

“If we think about it at all, we usually expect these services to be continual and think that there isn’t really a limit on those digital practices,” she says.

However, digital activity has a surprisingly high environmental impact, says McLean, who has recently published a book on the topic.

Along with the greenhouse gas emissions from substantial energy use by our personal computers, data centres and communication equipment, this impact also includes the water use and land impact from mining, building and distributing the metals and other materials that make up our vast global digital infrastructure.

High-impact digital activities

Many researchers have attempted to calculate the individual carbon footprints of various technologies, and these often focus on the energy used by servers, home wi-fi and computers and even a tiny share of the carbon emitted to construct data centre buildings.

Some of our greenhouse-gassiest digital activities include:


  • Emails: 
    Professor Mike Berners-Lee calculated that a short email sent phone-to-phone over wifi equates to 0.3 grams of CO2, a short email sent laptop-to-laptop emits 17g of CO2 and a long email with attachment sent from laptop could produce 50g of CO2.
  • Digital hoarding: Data transfer and storage of thousands of photo, audio and video files, messages, emails and documents in an average US data centre emits around 0.2 tons of CO2 each year, for every 100 gigabyte of storage.
  • Binge-watching in High Definition: Just one hour of HD streaming a day emits 160kg of CO2 each year – but swap to Standard Definition video quality and that drops to around 8kg of CO2 annually.

Beyond the individual

Deconstructing the many and varied impacts of our increasingly digital lives can be overwhelming.

Talking heads: Just one hour of videoconferencing can emit up to 1kg of CO2.

“There’s a lot to take in, and many of these figures will change depending on things like the use of renewable energy that is being taken up by some digital corporations and many individuals,” says McLean.

“This highlights the complexity of this challenge, showing that understanding and addressing digital sustainability goes beyond individual responsibilities, and is more fittingly held by governments and corporations.”

She says that the onus should be on governments to regulate a greater transparency on how digital corporations use energy, and to require regular reporting on sustainability targets.

Big tech continues to produce smartphones that are not designed to last.

“Most device manufacturers subscribe to a ‘planned obsolescence’ paradigm, rather than circular economy – for example, big tech continues to produce smartphones that are not designed to last.”

McLean’s recent research with Dr Sophia Maalsen (University of Sydney) and Dr Lisa Lake (UTS) found that while university students, staff and affiliates were concerned about the sustainability of digital technologies, there was a big gap between their intentions and actual practices of sustainability in their everyday digital lives.

“People expressed concern for the sustainability of their digital technologies, but they had limited opportunities to do anything substantive about this issue,” she says.

Digital ‘solutionism’ the wrong approach

Concepts like the paperless office, remote work and virtual conferences often come with a promise of lower environmental impacts – but McLean says these can be examples of ‘digital solutionism’.

E-harm: Digital activity has a surprisingly high environmental impact, says Dr Jessica McLean, who has recently published a book on the topic.

“It’s time to question whether being digital is always the most sustainable solution,” she says.

McLean says that our society is becoming increasingly entangled in the digital via the exponential growth of intensely data driven activities and devices, from the Internet of Things to Big Data and AI.

However, she points out that this digital immersion isn’t universal.

“There are uneven patterns and gaps in these digital affordances, both within Australia and across the Global South,” she says.

Her book, Changing Digital Geographies, explores alternatives to our current exponential digital growth, and its impact on our natural world.

“There are many alternatives for how we live digitally, from making decisions about what’s ‘good enough’ to changing the whole digital lifecycle and the way it is regulated,” she says.

“Individuals cannot be expected to resolve these issues, governments need to regulate and corporations need to act, to improve our digital future and make it sustainable.”

August 22, 2022 Posted by | climate change, ENERGY, Reference, technology | Leave a comment

Bill Gates’ nuclear startup wins $750M, loses sole fuel source

TerraPower notches a record-setting investment round led by South Korea’s SK. But it has no supplier of the enriched fuel it needs, now that sourcing from Russia is off the table.

Canary Media Eric Wesoff, 18 August 2022, Nuclear fission startup TerraPower, founded and chaired by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, has raised $750 million to develop advanced nuclear reactors to serve as alternatives to the light-water reactors that make up the vast majority of the world’s civilian nuclear fleet. But cash alone won’t be enough to get the startup over the many hurdles that stand in its way.

TerraPower’s Natrium fast reactor design is radically different from the design of traditional nuclear reactors. For starters, it’s smaller. A typical reactor in the U.S. produces 1,000 megawatts of power. TerraPower’s first demonstration reactor, now being planned for a site in Wyoming, will have a capacity of 345 megawatts. The smaller size could enable the reactor to be built cheaply in a factory and not expensively on-site.

The Natrium reactor will also use a different fuel and a different coolant than standard nuclear reactors. It will be fueled by high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), which is enriched with more uranium than the fuel used in traditional nuclear plants. And the coolant will be high-temperature liquid sodium instead of water. 

TerraPower’s new funding includes $250 million from South Korean chaebol SK Group. Previous funding for the firm has come from Gates and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway. The company was also awarded $80 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to work on its Natrium reactor design.

Canary covered TerraPower’s technology in detail last year when the firm announced that Bechtel will build its first reactor in Kemmerer, Wyoming, near the site of a coal-fired power plant that is scheduled to be shut down. The U.S. Department of Energy and private investors will split the cost of the demonstration project. 

The startup claims that this first reactor will be in operation by 2028 and will cost $4 billion, including engineering, procurement and construction. If TerraPower comes anywhere close to meeting those wildly ambitious goals, it will strongly differentiate itself from the traditional nuclear industry, which is notorious for missed deadlines and shocking cost overruns. The only two conventional nuclear reactors currently under construction in the U.S., at the Vogtle plant in Georgia, are already six years overdue and will cost utility customers over $30 billion, more than double the original price tag.

Fuel folly?

One big new problem for TerraPower emerged earlier this year: its fuel source. The only facility currently able to supply commercial quantities of HALEU is in Russia. That wasn’t a great situation even before Russia invaded Ukraine. Now that the war in Ukraine has been grinding on for six months and shows no signs of resolution, relying on fuel sourced from Russia is untenable. 

In March, TerraPower said it had cut ties with Tenex, the Russian state-owned company from which it had planned to source HALEU, Wyoming-based nonprofit news outlet WyoFile reported. ​“When Russia invaded Ukraine it became very clear, for a whole set of reasons — moral reasons as well as commercial reasons — that using Russian fuel is no longer an option for us,” said Jeff Navin, TerraPower’s director of external affairs.

TerraPower did just get good news this week when President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. The legislation includes $700 million to help build up a domestic supply chain for HALEU. The funding could give a boost to the U.S. Department of Energy’s plans to launch a congressionally authorized HALEU Availability Program. But developing HALEU production capacity in the U.S. will take years. 

TerraPower does not have wiggle room to delay. If it doesn’t complete its demonstration project by 2028, it stands to lose out on up to $2 billion in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program and the opportunity for expedited federal regulatory reviews. 

Some experts are skeptical that TerraPower will make the deadline, especially now that it has no source of fuel. ​“I didn’t think it was doable before this monkey wrench was thrown in,” Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear power safety for the Union of Concerned Scientists, told WyoFile in March.

A nuclear renaissance?

Despite these headwinds, TerraPower did just raise $750 million, so it’s not alone in anticipating a revival of the nuclear power industry. 

The Inflation Reduction Act will help not just HALEU-fueled TerraPower but the rest of the nuclear energy sector too: It includes a production tax credit for nuclear power, an incentive that will benefit struggling nuclear plants that already exist across the country as well as developers of new types of nuclear reactors. In addition to TerraPower, that latter category includes U.S. startups NuScale and Oklo.

…..  The bipartisan infrastructure law Biden signed late last year contains $6 billion to support existing nuclear plants and $3.2 billion for development of advanced nuclear power technology. The Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office has $11 billion in funding for nuclear plants and nuclear supply chains, according to Jigar Shah, director of the office. …………….. https://www.canarymedia.com/articles/nuclear/bill-gates-nuclear-startup-wins-750m-loses-sole-fuel-source

August 20, 2022 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Twelve months, one meeting – the complete lack of accountability on nuclear in Copeland

In fact, the Rolls-Royce fronted consortium developing a 470-MW so-called ‘Small’ Modular Nuclear Reactor still faces considerable challenges in bringing a design to market. The design still needs to be approved by the Office of Nuclear Regulation after a comprehensive Generic Design Assessment. If approved, the consortium would need to build and test an actual working prototype; establish facilities to fabricate the parts; master the fabrication and on-site assembly process; secure funding; navigate the siting, planning and Development Consent process; and actually build the first plant. So hardly a rose in fragrant bloom!

 https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/twelve-months-one-meeting-the-complete-lack-of-accountability-on-nuclear-in-copeland/ 19 Aug 22, Despite Copeland Council being at the heart of plans to develop a new nuclear plant and a nuclear waste dump in the borough, the Nuclear Free Local Authorities were surprised to see that the Council’s Strategic Nuclear and Energy Board has only met once in the last twelve months.[1]

Only last month, Copeland Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Nuclear and Commercial Services Councillor David Moore described how “the future looks rosy” for new nuclear in Copeland as talks progress on Small Modular Nuclear Reactors.[2]

Unfortunately, for the members of the Board, there was no opportunity to explore how ‘rosy’ the future was as the scheduled 9 August meeting was subsequently cancelled. Since the last meeting of the Board on 6 October 2021, meetings have been cancelled on 9 December; 10 February; 28 April; 7 June; and latterly on 9 August 2022.

In fact, the Rolls-Royce fronted consortium developing a 470-MW so-called ‘Small’ Modular Nuclear Reactor still faces considerable challenges in bringing a design to market. The design still needs to be approved by the Office of Nuclear Regulation after a comprehensive Generic Design Assessment. If approved, the consortium would need to build and test an actual working prototype; establish facilities to fabricate the parts; master the fabrication and on-site assembly process; secure funding; navigate the siting, planning and Development Consent process; and actually build the first plant. So hardly a rose in fragrant bloom!

Perhaps the infrequency of the meetings of the Board can be related to the disquiet expressed by some members over the lack of accountability over plans for Copeland Borough Council to partner with Nuclear Waste Services to bring a nuclear waste dump (a so-called Geological Disposal Facility or GDF) to Copeland. The Board minutes for 9 October 2021 record that three Councillors wanted the final decision taken by a meeting of the Full Council rather than reserved to the Executive; with a tied vote, this proposal was defeated only on the Chair’s casting vote. To placate the objectors, Councillor Moore promised that ‘this committee and full Council would be updated on a regular basis’.[3] The Board has since never met.

Commenting, Councillor David Blackburn said: “At a cost of up to £53 billion, the GDF would be the biggest engineering undertaking to take place in Copeland, since the creation of the Sellafield complex. It would be a repository for Britain’s high-level nuclear waste from seven decades of civil nuclear operations, and also take waste from future generation. Taking up to 150 years to build, fill and seal, it would have massive implications for, and be completely disruptive to, any host community in Copeland for generations.

“The GDF process is fast moving on apace. Since October 2021, first a Working Group and then a Community Partnership have been formed with Copeland’s involvement. In the last month, seismic testing has been taking place off the coast of West Cumbria, an activity which has rightly been hugely controversial for its adverse impact on marine life. Yet during this whole time, this Board, the very body charged by Copeland Council to provide oversight on the GDF and nuclear projects, has not met; no reports on these and other important issues have been brought before this Board for debate; and there has been no opportunity for members of the public to sit in on deliberations. Hardly democracy at its finest.”

For more information, please contact NFLA Secretary Richard Outram by email on richard.outram@manchester.gov.uk or telephone 07583 097793

Commenting, Councillor David Blackburn said: “At a cost of up to £53 billion, the GDF would be the biggest engineering undertaking to take place in Copeland, since the creation of the Sellafield complex. It would be a repository for Britain’s high-level nuclear waste from seven decades of civil nuclear operations, and also take waste from future generation. Taking up to 150 years to build, fill and seal, it would have massive implications for, and be completely disruptive to, any host community in Copeland for generations.

“The GDF process is fast moving on apace. Since October 2021, first a Working Group and then a Community Partnership have been formed with Copeland’s involvement. In the last month, seismic testing has been taking place off the coast of West Cumbria, an activity which has rightly been hugely controversial for its adverse impact on marine life. Yet during this whole time, this Board, the very body charged by Copeland Council to provide oversight on the GDF and nuclear projects, has not met; no reports on these and other important issues have been brought before this Board for debate; and there has been no opportunity for members of the public to sit in on deliberations. Hardly democracy at its finest.”

For more information, please contact NFLA Secretary Richard Outram by email on richard.outram@manchester.gov.uk or telephone 07583 097793

August 20, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, technology, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

“The New Space Race is Going Nuclear”

“The space nuclear industry is flying blind—blinded by its devotion to profit and power,” Gagnon declared. “Their hard hearts have no concern about the negative impacts they might create on Earth, to the people and environment, nor any long-term impacts their high-tech nuclear power ‘visions’ might have in space. Their vision is so myopic, so limited, so tunnel like, because their minds are closed to the idea that space is alive and is an environment that we humans who are on this tiny spinning orb called Earth live in. They are colonizers, much like the long-history of earth-bound colonizers, who have raped and pillaged our lovely planet home.

 https://www.thesentinel.com/communities/the-new-space-race-is-going-nuclear/article_3fc861da-1da5-11ed-b190-4ffd12c4bafa.html By Karl Grossman, Aug 16, 2022 

“The New Space Race is Going Nuclear” was the title of a recent hour webinar presented by the American Nuclear Society. The U.S. government is pouring money into the development of space nuclear power—for commercial, exploratory and military purposes—as described in the panel discussion featuring five very enthusiastic advocates of using atomic energy in space.

“So, it’s really an exciting time,” said the moderator for the American Nuclear Society, Jeffrey King, a professor of nuclear engineering and director of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Center at the Colorado School of Mines, and also past chair of the society’s Aerospace Nuclear Science and Technology Division.

“It’s actually a time I didn’t expect that we’d end up seeing in my lifetime,” King said. “But we have now multiple companies—everything from government to the large contractors, small companies to start-up companies all interested in space nuclear power and different aspects of space nuclear power. It’s truly an exciting renaissance time for the field.”

As to the impacts of using nuclear power in space, comments made 44 minutes into the webinar were telling. King said “several people asked about,” in questions they sent in, “if anyone could comment on decommissioning plan or briefly what the plan is when we are done with these.”

Brad Rearden, director of the Government R&D Division of x-Energy, a company based in Rockville, Maryland and, previously, for 20 years, with the Reactor and Nuclear Systems

Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said: “So, at this point, I mean, you’re going to have a reactor that’s potentially stationed on the moon and operating for a decade. You know there’s no [nuclear waste] repository in America. There’s also no repository on the moon. And, so, it’s certainly a policy that needs to be examined. There’s always the possibility of removing it from the Moon at some point for disposal and disposing of it or doing some sort of disposal in place. So, I think it’s a really relevant question and something that certainly needs to be decided on the policy level. We can provide technical answers for that.”

Moderator King followed declaring: “Certainly in lunar you don’t have water, you don’t have wind. You don’t have anything that drives the motion of material and you don’t have an ecosystem that we have to worry about protecting but it is going to be a long-term concern.”

Asked by me in a question about that statement, King wrote back: “Specifically, the moon does not have an ecosystem. While there are what we might consider concerns is terms of leaving things pristine and or long-term human habitat, the moon is sterile and the worry about damaging in ecosystem is largely non-existent.”

And, Sebastian Corbisiero, senior technical advisor in the Nuclear Science and Technology Directorate at Idaho National Laboratory and the leader of the laboratory’s “Fission Surface Power” program, added in the webinar: “I don’t think anything has been officially decided on that. However, I will say that having a reactor on the Moon is less risky than having spent fuel in the vicinity of large population.”

About the webinar, Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, said: “I am reminded by the agents of nuclear power in space how the aerospace industry has viewed outer space during the 40 years I have been organizing on these issues. They’ve maintained that space is vast and limitless and has no real ecosystem or environment that we should be concerned about. So, their philosophy has essentially been ‘full speed ahead’.”

Now today,” Gagnon said, “NASA, the military, and some in the aerospace industry, are worriedly tracking the growing amount of space debris orbiting the Earth. They are beginning to talk about the ‘Kessler syndrome’ that predicts cascading collisions due to increasingly crowded orbits which could at some point make getting a rocket through the debris field encircling our planet nearly impossible.”

So as the nuclear industry cavalierly undertakes their plan for nuclear-powered mining colonies on the Moon, Mars and other planetary bodies they easily brush off any concerns about impacts,” said Gagnon. “As they make plans to test nuclear reactor rocket engines just over our heads in Lower Earth Orbits (LEO) they discount any concerns of environmental impacts if the tests go wrong. They never talk about the Department of Energy laboratories where these nuclear devices are fabricated with a long history of radioactive contamination of workers, local water tables and air contamination.”

“The space nuclear industry is flying blind—blinded by its devotion to profit and power,” Gagnon declared. “Their hard hearts have no concern about the negative impacts they might create on Earth, to the people and environment, nor any long-term impacts their high-tech nuclear power ‘visions’ might have in space. Their vision is so myopic, so limited, so tunnel like, because their minds are closed to the idea that space is alive and is an environment that we humans who are on this tiny spinning orb called Earth live in. They are colonizers, much like the long-history of earth-bound colonizers, who have raped and pillaged our lovely planet home.”

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (www.space4peace.org) founded 30 years ago, in 1992, at a conference in Washington, D.C. is the leading organization internationally challenging the weaponization and use of nuclear power in space. In its description of the August 4th webinar, the American Nuclear Society asserts: “For decades, nuclear energy has played a role, sometimes minor and sometimes major, in humanity’s exploration and research of outer space. Many space experts, scientists, astronauts, and researchers believe that nuclear energy can fundamentally change how we live and work in extraterrestrial environments and that some missions, projects, and endeavors are nearly impossible without the involvement of nuclear technologies. As federal funding is being applied to nuclear projects for various space-based applications and opportunities, an expert panel will discuss how nuclear companies and researchers are poised to capitalize.”

A video recording of the webinar can also be viewed at https://www.ans.org/webinars/view-space2022/

Among the panelists was Michael Anness who, as biographies on the webinar website described, “leads the development new nuclear fuel products and services at Westinghouse Electric Company.” He has been a licensed nuclear reactor operator, it says. Anness spoke of space nuclear projects of Westinghouse Electric, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, including “microreactors” that would provide “fission surface power.” Anness said: “I’m kind of a fuel guy so I believe fuel is an enabling platform for space nuclear.”

Also on the panel was Kate Kelly, director for Space and Emerging programs at Lynchburg, Virginia-based BWXT Advanced Technologies and, previously, at BWX was “the Advanced Nuclear Systems Program Manager focused on the development of nuclear project to promote the company’s R&D interests in advanced manufacturing and nuclear thermal propulsion technologies.” She spoke about an “inflection point” on the use of nuclear power in

space having arrived. Said Kelly: “Over the last several years there’s been this re-emerging interest and investment by the government in fission systems for in-space power and propulsion.”

The sixth participant in the webinar was Alex Gilbert who has “expertise in space mining, nuclear innovation, energy markets and climate policy,” says his biography on the webinar website. “As Director of Space & Planetary Regulation at Zeno Power [based in Washington, D.C.], Alex oversees regulatory approvals for space launch, maritime, and terrestrial applications of radioisotope power systems…He was lead author of the U.S. Advanced Nuclear Energy Strategy, which outlined how government and industry can establish U.S. leadership in next generation nuclear reactor markets.”

Gilbert said “we are at a unique moment. I call it a space opportunity.” “He said “we could actually see exponential growth. Right now the space economy is around $400 billion globally. By the middle of the century it could be $4 trillion.” This expansion is a result of factors including a “resurgence in science and exploration and defense activities…and commerce. That is what is driving the interest in space nuclear technologies.” The American Nuclear Society describes itself as comprised of 10,000 members dedicated to “exploring possibilities within the realm of nuclear science and technology.”

King recounted that “I’ve been in and around the space nuclear community for quite a while, ever since 1997, for about 25 years. I remember it was space nuclear that got me into nuclear,” and being told by a nuclear engineer advisor that “space nuclear is going to be the future.”

August 17, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel, wastes | 1 Comment

As Threat of Militarisation Rises, International Community Races to Set Standards for Responsible Behaviour in Outer Space

Cornelis van Haperen | U. Nottingham School of Law, GB, AUGUST 11, 2022

The past decades have seen a growing interest in, and utilisation of, outer space. Ease of access to space has increased alongside the rise of more affordable and small-scale technologies, and as a consequence space has become a congested and competitive environment. This has resulted in an increase in the number of nations with space ambitions, while the proliferation of commercial space platforms and space exploration has also grown, even leading to Elon Musk’s capabilities to support Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s invasion, and the new phenomenon of space tourism. 

No longer is the space domain reserved for the original space-faring nations — the United States, Russia and the emerging global power China. It is also causing the increased militarisation of space (‘arms race’) with a number nations having formed new military commands and armed forces (e.g. Space Command and Space Force: USA, UK, France) and NATO having declared space a war-fighting domain in 2019. 

The proliferation of space objects and debris is resulting in a growing risk of collision and damage, while the activities of certain nations (Russia, China) [ed note – h ha – why not include USA?]pose increased threats and risks of conflict. Western Allies have realized that they rely more and more on space for all military activities, including collective defence, crisis response, disaster relief, and counterterrorism, and depend on information delivered from and through space. Militarily tensions seem to have been on the rise too. There are real concerns among the international rule-based nations about the challenging behaviours of Russia and China [ ha ha why not include USA?] wreaking real havoc in space which even resulted in serious endangerment of the lives of American and Russian astronauts at the International Space Station. 

This article will shed some legal light on the recent announcement by US Vice-President Kamala Harris that the US would refrain from conducting destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing (i.e. destroying satellites in space). Whilst this seems to firmly place destructive actions at the centre of recent debates, the growing conduct of non-lethal operations such as jamming and spoofing should not be discarded. This article will therefore concentrate more widely on the international legal framework and military use of space. The main issue that will be addressed is whether the increased militarisation of space requires better norms and rules to ensure the responsible and peaceful use of outer space. There will be a brief reflection on the United Nations organisations that are leading efforts to bring nations together in the development of such norms and rules and where the international community is going next. 

Military Use of Space – the Relevant Law?

It seems inherently contradictory to talk about military and weapons in the same breath as outer space. In December 1963, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution recognising the common interest of all mankind in the progress, exploration, and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. These words resembled similar aspirations as defined in the Antarctic Treaty a few years earlier. The main difference was that this Treaty also spelled out the prohibition of military activities whereas resolution 1962 did not. It has therefore been unavoidable that two interpretations of the term peaceful have emerged: one arguing a complete ban of all weapons in space, while the prevailing view does not represent such a prohibition. 

Let’s place the increased militarisation of space in the appropriate context by defining the international legal framework for outer space and reflect on the legal underpinning of military activities within outer space. The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Spaceincluding the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, 1967, better known as the Outer Space Treaty (OST), and four other key treaties, commonly referred to as the outer space legal regime, together provide a legal foundation for ‘the expanding and increasingly complex tasks aimed at the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.’

In addition, the UN General Assembly has defined several principles as well as adopted various resolutions. Article I of the OST states that exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is to be for the benefit of all mankind. Importantly, Article II clarifies that they shall not be subject to national appropriation and thus there can be no claims of sovereignty. The OST further states that the use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be undertaken consistent with international law. This includes the UN Charter and is to conform with the UN’s purposes to maintain peace and security and the promotion of international co-operation. ………………………………………..

Preventing Bad Behaviour: Mitigating Risks of Damage and Threats of Escalation

It is often reported that debris in space is growing exponentially. The logical consequence of the increase in space activities is a growing risk of collisions with space objects, i.e. other satellites, and the creation and proliferation of new debris due to ever more launches. However, whilst some of this risk could arguably be mitigated through more cautious behaviour, there has also been a noticeable growth of capabilities to interfere with systems in outer space or even destroy them, and we have seen an upturn in deliberate malicious acts by actors seeking to affect the space activities of other nations. The most destructive forms are those of kinetic or physical counter-space weapons that directly hit satellites. ……………………………………………………

United Nations and National Leadership

The framework for state action in outer space is now far behind the technological possibilities, developments, and commercialisation of space. Nevertheless, the Proposed Prevention of an Arms Race in Space (PAROS) has been on the United Nations’ disarmament agenda for over four decades. Numerous nations have expressed their concerns about the harmful and damaging effects of this competition for space. While the discussions in the international community have intensified over the past decades these have not yet resulted in binding treaties or measures……………………………………………….. more  https://www.jurist.org/features/2022/08/11/explainer-as-threat-of-militarisation-rises-international-community-races-to-set-standards-for-responsible-behaviour-in-outer-space/

August 17, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel | Leave a comment

MARS ASTRONAUTS WOULD GET HORRIFYING DOSE OF RADIATION, STUDY FINDS

SO… WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT COLONIZING MARS?

MAGGIE HARRISON  https://futurism.com/the-byte/mars-astronauts-radiation-study 15 Aug 22

Sorry, Elon

So, uh, there might be a serious wrench in Elon Musk’s plans to colonize Mars.

According to an alarming — though yet-to-be-peer-reviewed — new study, astronauts who underwent a crewed mission to the Red Planet would likely face devastating levels of radiation — even when wearing protective metal shields.

Bad Trip

In order to realistically examine how much cumulative radiation the astronauts would face, the scientists based their research on a 1,000-day crewed mission — 600 days of travel time, 400 days on the Martian surface — to our neighboring planet.

As New Scientist reports, the work was partially inspired by the gender gap in space radiation research. Most studies in the field have focused on male bodies — NASA, in fact, is only sending test dummies with female anatomies into space for the first time this year.

With that in mind, the scientists were sure to include comprehensive virtual models of both male and female anatomies in their study. These models were then mercilessly pelted with simulated cosmic radiation, including that caused by solar flares, and studied using particle-tracking software usually used in particle accelerator research. (It’s also worth noting that the model accounted for exposures with aluminum shielding and without.)

Radiation Station

And regarding whether such missions would be safe or not, the results were unfortunately in favor of “not.”

After surveying the impact of the 1,000-day simulated mission on over 40 of the digitally-modeled body parts and organs, the researchers determined that most of the individual organs examined contained radiation levels over one sievert — as New Scientist reports, most space agencies worldwide stipulate that no astronaut should be exposed to over one sievert of radiation throughout their entire career, while NASA maintains that 0.6 sieverts should be the max.

As the study has yet to be peer reviewed, none of this data is entirely certain. But if it ultimately checks out, humanity definitely has some protective measures to figure out before any astronauts — let alone a whole chunk of humanity — could safely make their way to Earth’s dusty red neighbor.

READ MORE:Mars astronauts would get unsafe radiation doses even with shielding [New Scientist]

August 14, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, space travel | Leave a comment

Elon Musk’s SpaceX now leaving junk in Australia’s backyard

Independent Australia, By Darren Crawford | 10 August 2022 After a SpaceX capsule crashed onto an Australian farm, we’re left wondering if Elon Musk will clean up his own mess, writes Darren Crawford.

ACCORDING TO the ABC, the Australian Space Agency (ASA) has confirmed that debris found in a sheep paddock in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia, belongs to Elon Musk’s SpaceX Dragon capsule, which was launched in November 2020.

Local authorities were alerted after nearby residents heard a loud bang earlier this year on 9 July. It is now thought the bang was the noise of the capsule re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. New South Wales Police and the ASA visited one of the sites on Saturday 31 July and confirmed that two of the pieces are from a SpaceX mission.

According to the ABC, the ASA is continuing to engage with its counterparts in the U.S. as well as other parts of the Commonwealth and local authorities.

An ASA spokesperson said:

“The agency is operating under the Australian Government Space Re-entry Debris Plan which outlines roles and responsibilities for key Australian government agencies and committees in supporting the response to space re-entry debris.”

So who is responsible for the clean-up?

According to the ABC report, the space debris will remain in place for now. However, the pieces could eventually be returned to U.S. soil.

Australian National University’s Institute of Space deputy director Dr Cassandra Steer said there was an obligation under international space law to repatriate any debris to the country from where it originated.

Dr Steer went on to confirm that “Any space object, or part thereof, has to be repatriated” and should be sent back to the U.S. However, SpaceX has only confirmed that the debris is theirs and is yet to commit to the costs associated with returning it to the U.S.

Dr Steer added:

“We have clarity in terms of lines of responsibilities. The U.S. is liable for any damage that is caused by this space debris… and Australia could go to the U.S. and seek some form of compensation if there are any costs involved in cleaning it up.”

Elon Musk and SpaceX have a poor environmental record

As reported earlier this year, Elon Musk and fellow billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are currently participating in a dick-swinging rocket contest to see who can get to Mars first. Suffering from massive rocket envy, these three men are speeding up the climate change process by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with every launch.

The Guardian reports that one rocket launch alone can release up to 300 tons of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s upper atmosphere and it can stay there for years. This is in comparison to a standard long-haul flight which produces three tons of carbon dioxide per passenger/per flight, into the lower atmosphere.

These impacts do not include what happens on the ground during a launch, including the heat and noise pollution in the immediate area, or the impacts on local wildlife.

There appear to be few controls put in place to protect the planet and its inhabitants from falling space junk by Elon Musk and SpaceX. In March 2021, a SpaceX rocket blew up on launch and debris was scattered throughout the protected area. According to a local non-profit environmental group, it took three months to clean up the mess.

According to the report, launch site ditches on SpaceX land and public property in the U.S. have dumped runoff water directly into the tidal flats threatening local fish breeding grounds, and public beaches and roads have been closed for longer than the agreed times.

Finally, at an earlier launch in 2018, a jettisoned SpaceX booster rocket missed its target drone ship a few hundred kilometres out to sea and destroyed itself on impact slamming into the ocean at 500 km/hour.

So, will Elon Musk and SpaceX clean up their mess down under?

This is the great unknown, as Elon Musk’s environmental record in relation to his SpaceX program is extremely poor.

It is also clear, as can be seen by his recently abandoned Twitter purchase, that Elon Musk doesn’t care who he burns, or how hard he burns them, to get his own way.

It is apparent that Elon Musk sees the increasing amount of pollution produced by his SpaceX endeavours as little more than collateral damage and less of a threat to our civilisation. Similarly, he doesn’t care whose backyard he trashes (as long as it’s not his, obviously).

Instead of turning his immense intelligence (and wealth) to solving our current problems, Elon Musk (and his billionaire space mates) seek to exacerbate these problems by polluting the planet further.

It will be interesting to see whether he does the right thing by the Australian Government and its people and pays for the clean-up of his mess.

Update, 10 August 2022:

The ABC is reporting that SpaceX has confirmed that the space debris spread throughout an Australian sheep paddock is indeed remnants of their Dragon Capsule and is sending a team down under to investigate………………………….

What was not stated was whether any ASA or government agencies were aware of or engaged in any of SpaceX’s planning. Space Law Lecturer at UNSW Canberra, Duncan Blake, wondered if they had coordinated with Australian agencies prior to their risk assessment — “If they didn’t, then that seems somewhat arrogant to make a decision that affects Australia without consulting Australians,” he said.

There has been no mention of the cost of removal or the debris, or as to whether Elon Musk and SpaceX will be more honest and open in the future and advise all Australians about the potential damage falling SpaceX junk may cause in their country.
 https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/elon-musks-spacex-now-leaving-junk-in-our-own-backyard,16650

August 9, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, space travel, wastes | Leave a comment

New leader of Canada’s New Brunswick Liberals breaks ranks with the party’s previous support for Small Nuclear Reactors

New Liberal leader questions small nuclear reactors. Susan Holt says it’s not clear the technology is a responsible energy solution

Jacques Poitras · CBC News · Aug 10, 2022 

The new leader of the New Brunswick Liberals is questioning whether small modular nuclear reactors are the answer to the province’s energy needs, a more cautious stance than her party’s previous full-throated support for the technology.

Susan Holt said after winning the leadership Saturday that while the potential jobs created by SMRs would be good for the province, she was looking for more evidence they were the right bet for clean energy.

“It’s an interesting project on the economic development level … but I’m not sure it’s the solution for electricity generation for our province,” Holt told reporters.

“I think it’s not clear yet if it will really give us energy in a way that’s responsible and efficient with our investments, so there’s still more to determine there.”

Two companies based in Saint John, ARC Clean Energy and Moltex Energy, have received tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding to develop reactors………..

Last year the province handed ARC $20 million, while Moltex received more than $50 million from the federal government.

The previous provincial Liberal government gave each of them $5 million.

Holt held the title of chief of business relationships at the Jobs Board secretariat under then-Liberal Premier Brian Gallant at the time ARC and Moltex got that initial funding.

Both the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives have been enthusiastic supporters of SMRs until now, ………………..

at legislative committee hearings in January, former N.B. Power CEO Gaëtan Thomas and officials from Saint John Energy warned that SMRs may not be ready in time to replace electricity from the Belledune generating station, which must stop using coal by 2030.


Louise Comeau, the director of climate change and energy solutions for the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, welcomed Holt’s comments.

“It sounds to me like the new leader is open to more information and analysis, which is what we desperately needed on the question of small modular nuclear reactors,” she said.

“We’ve been more in a phase of hype and boosterism. … I think what she’s said is we need to have more information, we need to look at all options, and we would really agree with that. Wind and solar and efficiency and other options all have to be part of the portfolio.” 

Susan O’Donnell, a member of the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick, said she was happy Holt was “reading the independent research about SMRs instead of the nuclear industry sales and promotional materials.”…………………..

In January, the Pembina Institute, a clean energy think tank, released a report that said small nuclear reactors would be more expensive and generate less electricity than a combination of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/susan-holt-questions-small-nuclear-reactors-1.6545007

August 9, 2022 Posted by | Canada, politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment